Civil Rights Movement

Civil Rights Movement

Civil Rights Movement

Civil Rights Movement


This book gives readers a comprehensive introduction to the topic of the Civil Rights Movement- arguably the most important political movement of the 20th century- and provides a road map for future study and historical inquiry.

• Provides a chronology that traces the unfolding of the subject of movement over time

• Features biographical profiles of the people and organizations central to the movement

• Contains a selection of primary documents that provide readers with a fuller understanding of the subject

• Includes an annotated bibliography that assesses the most important print, electronic, and media resources suitable for high school student research


THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT is a reference work for students. As one reads, they will note that the Civil Rights Movement includes more than Rosa Parks’ refusal to relinquish her seat on a segregated bus. It is also more than Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. These two events are iconic indeed, and most students know about them even without knowing Parks’ contexts or the texts of King’s speech. But if we want to understand the extent of the movement, it is necessary to include a discussion of Parks’ determination and King’s charisma without deifying them and ignoring other important aspects of the struggle for black equality.

What lies ahead in this book is a bird’s eye and telescopic view of the black freedom struggle. It is a bird’s eye view in that it provides a breadth of discussion and survey of important campaigns and highlights significant contributions by activists. It is telescopic in that it provides a narrative depth that moves beyond the surface discussion and encyclopedic trivia. It is impossible to detail every event that occurred in what historians have often called the second Reconstruction, but this book attempts to provide the reader with a narrative as comprehensive as possible and a point of departure that includes some of the major campaigns waged by African Americans for full citizenship, justice, and equality. In its totality the Civil Rights Movement was the political and social reaction to years of white supremacy in the United States. Interlocking and overlapping attempts to physically, emotionally, spiritually, politically, and economically dominate black people began when the first Africans were traded in the Chesapeake region for goods and supplies from a Dutch Man-of-War in 1619. Though it included white allies, it was a decentralized, mass political movement comprised primarily of African Americans who sought to undermine and overturn the humiliating and oppressive system of segregation, often called Jim Crow, throughout the United States. Efforts were sometimes centralized in one location, but overall the movement included local, state, and nationwide organizations and individuals who at times worked in tandem and at other times in isolation.

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